Thursday, July 12, 2012


June 9th 

I woke up pretty early on June 9th, a lot earlier the I though I would seeing how much sleep I had missed. Anyway I felt rested and decided to head into town. I caught the tram outside the hotel and then took the subway into town. I emerged from the subway and was pretty amazed at the buildings rising above me. I decided to just wander around, no real plan in mind. I kept a journal that day so the best way I think to share that day is for you to look at all the pictures I took then read what I wrote in my journal, keep in mind I was writing to Carmel as she wanted to go to Budapest too. So I tried my best in sharing with her how I spent my day.

I'm sitting along the river looking across towards the national gallery. A very impressive building. There are also many monuments, chapels and things scattered along the hill side. It's a very loud city. Lot of movement. Occasionally you can hear  bells ringing in the Churches, but for most part you just hear movement. There is a dog barking at me, don't know why. I'm just sittin on a bench. Maybe he peed here once and it's his. I might go wander off around town for a bit. Maybe find something to eat. I don't want to do to much walking today. I might just go hang out at a museum.
I found a cafe to have breakfast at. Their currency is so strange here. Breakfast is going to cost me around 3000. Which I cant ever remember what that converts to euros let alone dollars. It was so quiet here when I sat down then all of a sudden it came alive. There is some sort of festival going on down the street.
The train was interesting, everyone had the same cold look on their face. It's much more anti social then Seattle, which is saying something.
I have to remember to stay out of the sun.
Clouded over , still got lot of sun though. Walked around alot, crossed over the chain bridge, which is pretty cool. Heading up to the museum now, hiking, not taking the Funicular thing. I'm about half way up and taking a quick nap on a ledge that's looking over the bridge.
I think my beard has helped me to blend in, or at least people don't assume I'm an American. Maybe people think I'm from some far off northern land. Most people speak English though that I've found.
The homeless guy asking for change at the train station kept pointing at my beard, yelling "Karl Marx, Karl Marx, Karl Marx..." over and over again. To bad I didn't have any change for him.
I went back to the hotel for a few hours, was feeling pretty tired. Walked a lot more then I had intended to. Bought some sun screen and lotion but I don't think I got as burned as I thought, I hope not. I need to remember to wear sun screen.
 My Flight leaves at 5:30am which means I need to be at the airport by 3:30. he tram starts running at 3 I think. But I don't think that will be reliable. A taxi will cost a lot. I'm thinking my only real reliable option will be to go to the airport early and wait. One of the last trains to run to the bus I need to catch leave at 12:30 so I will get to the airport around 1, so I'll have to find something to do for a few hours. I like this more then missing my plane. I can't miss this place. This place will take me to you. The hotel is no help with figuring out how to get to the airport. It's a bit frustrating. The hotel itself is good. It's quiet and clean. I haven't seen any other guests. The management is a bit standoffish. It's right along the tracks which is it's only real benefit.
I came back to the same cafe I had breakfast at. It's a nice simple place. and a bit touristy but it has plenty of outside seating where you can people watch. I'm drinking a beer which is pretty good. It's called Soproni Demon. It's a dark beer. I like it. I ordered the special, or was recommended it. Not really sure what I ordered. There is a soccer game on. You can hear the excitement growing and falling with the game. It started rainingh hard and everyone made a mad dash for the awnings. Where I'm sitting it's fine though. There is lightning in the distance. It's amazing. I wish you were here. They are playing Arcade Fries.
I could spend weeks in budapest. There is so much to explore. Today I just walked for a few hours and feel like I've already seen more here then I have between Frankfurt and Brussels so far. And I've only seen a fraction of the city. I want to come back here. It's an amazing mix of the ancient, modern and communist that can be seen everywhere. The subway system still seems like how it was the day they built it. It's great. One frustrating thing is the signage. It's always hard to figure out where you are because everything is listed so poorly. Maybe I just don't know where to look.
I caught the last train out of town. I only knew it when I was the last one walking out of the station before they locked the doors. I also missed the last connecting tram to the hotel, again. So I figured out there was a bus. I started waiting for it under an awning. All this while a huge lightning store with rain pouring down. The bus was pretty quick. I've come to know where to get off by the two atlas statues just before the hotel. My plan to take the train to the airport early was not going to work. I called for a taxi to pick me up instead.  It cost $20 euros but I got here in time. The airport is quiet this early. There are people sleeping everywhere. I should have thought ahead and just slept here instead.
There is no real control at this airport. They don't tell you which stand to check in at. So there are just big crowds of people standing around until the person at the desk turns their screen on then you can see which flight it is for. I was standing with a big group of people then all of a sudden the person behind the desk we were all standing behind turned her screen on and it was for my flight. Everyone just scattered and I was standing all my myself there. I'm the first flight to leave here so I'm thinking that the plane might be pretty empty.


June 8th 

I arrived in Brussels around 6am on June 8th. I only slept a few hours on the bus, meaning I've hardly slept at all in the past 3+ nights. This day in my memory is a bit of a blur, I just remembering being exhausted. I arrived at the Nord train station and needed to make my way to Midi where I was going to store my luggage and eventually catch a shuttle to the air port later in the day. The Nord station is actually the old and the new station combined. The old station is a classic train station with a great hall and stairways to the train platforms. The new station, which is build next to and around the old one is a gigantic building with multiple layers where you can either catch trains or buses. They were doing construction on both stations and it took me a little while to figure out just which staircase I needed to take to get me to the platform I needed to be on. The new station also seems very empty, there were a lot of long empty cordons, and actually had quite a few people who looked like they were living there. The great hall in the old station was probably the only real interesting thing about both stations, it was also the only place in both stations that there were actually benches to sit on. I remember sitting on a bench for awhile just looking at maps and trying to make sure where I needed to go. This was also where I saw this bit of construction.


It reminded me of a Lead Pencil Sculpture. Eventually I found the train that would take me to Midi station and I made my way there. I had absolutely no plan on what I was going to do with my 7 or so hours I would be in Brussels this day. One thing I wanted to find was an internet cafe so I could confirm with Carmel just where we would be meeting up. Once at Midi I eventually found the luggage lockers and was able to stuff my large bag in one of the lockers. I would only be taking my small back pack with me to Budapest as a checked bag was around 40 euros or something. I also found a corner off to the side where I could change my shoes and socks, although I'm sure a lot of people heading to work that morning in Brussels saw some large bearded man standing in a corner with no shoes and socks.

The Midi station is a little bit nicer then the Nord although it is a bit more confusing as it has lots of long hallways that some just seem to dead end. I did manage to find where I would eventually catch the shuttle to the airport and then decided to just wander around the neighborhood for a few hours. I don't really remember having any sort of destination in mind I just figured I would walk in one direction for awhile then maybe see something and turn then maybe turn again. I found myself taking pictures of just some of the strange or interesting things I saw.













I'm not really sure how I managed to fill the day but through just wandering I spent 6 hours or so just walking around the Midi station. I remember going back to the station once or twice but then I would just head off in a new direction. Eventually I just sat and waited for the shuttle. I was completely wasted by now, so much walking and so little sleep i hardly remember that afternoon. I remember on the shuttle ride they showed some sort of vampire ninja movie or something, I don't really remember. I just remember that it was a long ride. The Brussels Charleroi airport is nowhere near Brussels. The airport mostly exists for the budget airlines and seemed fairly busy. I had to wait a little bit in the terminal for then to start checking for my flight which gave me some time to find a place to check my internet and confirm with Carmel on a meeting place in Brussels on the 10th. I remember getting my boarding pass and going through security and then buying a coffee and finding a place to sit. I think while I was waiting I managed to nod in and out of sleep for a bit and when I came to they were already boarding for my flight. I got in line and eventually made my way to the plane. I found myself a window seat and settled in. The whole time on Ryanair flights they are trying to sell you something. They give you no food or any frills, there are also advertisements everywhere. It's cheap for a reason, but it will get you whee you need to go. I remember just after we took of and looking out the window at the country side that I noticed something interesting. You could see little bunches of towns and it looked as if the houses were pushed and crammed as close to the streets as possible. It made for a cool effect to see all these tightly bunches houses with fields around them. 


I arrived in Budapest late in the evening and remember thinking that I was on my way to a bed, I just needed to figure out how to get to it. I knew where my hotel was and I knew which buses and trains would get me there. I just needed to focus and take the right ones. I managed to take the right bus to the subway, then got on the subway and got off at the right stop, but then the tram I needed to catch that went right by the hotel was either not running that day or it was just too late in the day. Either way I needed to walk, which was about 2.5 miles. It was a nice night and the neighborhood was a mix of houses and apartments with lots of shops and restaurants. It felt a little bit like walking down highway 99 in Lynnwood or Everett. I was completely wasted from the past long three days but I new I was heading to a bed and I could sleep for as long as I wanted. My first impression of Budapest was one of a little bit of a daze. The things that stand out the most in my mind from that night was the bus ride to the subway station which took us through a neighborhood that seemed to have a lot of prostitutes just walking around half naked, although it was a bit warm that night so it may just be the local custom. I don't remember walking into the subway station, my first memory is that of the door slamming shut, and when I say slamming it was like it was crashing closed with a loud band. I then remember having to grab for a handle as the train took off. I then remember having to hold on the whole time as the car rocked back and fourth. It was also really loud, this is what I remember. Once I got to the hotel all I remember is finding the room and then being happy I had a bed to sleep in and a toilet I didn't have to search for coins to use. I would finally get some much needed rest.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


June 7th

I arrived in Frankfurt Germany on June 7th around 2pm very tired and foggy headed. It took me a bit just to figure out how to purchase a ticket for the train that would take me to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof which is the central station in Frankfurt and where I would eventually catch my bus to Brussels. I finally managed to get my ticket and figured out which train I needed and where to catch it. I was riding on the train and probably about half way to the central station the train stopped and over the loud speaker someone said something in German then every one on the train looked annoyed. I had no idea what was going on. Then all of a sudden all these uniformed people boarded the train and was checking to see if people had a ticket. Luckily I managed to purchase the right ticket because they left me alone. There was a guy near me though that did not have a ticket and a very loud discussion started taking place. The ticket checkers kept demanding that he pay the fine, at least this is what I thought they were talking about. We were sitting there for about 5 min going through all of this. All of a sudden someone else came over the loud speaker and said something else in German then all of a sudden every one one the train got up and got off. I had no idea what was going on so I just followed them. There was probably a few hundred people that got off the train. I followed them down these stairs then through a long tunnel then back up some stairs to another platform a little ways away from the train we got off. Just as the whole group seemed to settle on this new platform the train we had been on started to move again and the whole crowd seemed to give off a collective German swear. A few minutes longer this much small train arrived at the platform we were waiting at and then everyone squeezed onto this new train. I still had no idea what was going on, and if this new train was actually the train i wanted. I was just too tired to care. I eventually did arrive at the central station. I didn't have any plans for what I would do with my 10 hours I needed to kill in Frankfurt before I caught my bus to Brussels. I found a place to store my luggage and decided to just go wander around and see if I could find something to do. I really did not have any idea what I would find in Frankfurt so I just walked straight out of the station and headed down the first street I saw.


Little did I know that directly across the street from the station is the red light district. The strangest thing was I didn't really see any girls sitting in windows but I did have girls run up to me as I walked by someplace and hook onto my arm and then start to talk to me. This was awkward this was a fairly busy city street with lots of people and you are just walking along in a crowd and all of a sudden some girl sides up beside you asking if you want, well you know.

I kept walking straight down the street from the central station and eventually I happened upon the Occupy Frankfurt camp.

Occupy Frankfurt

Occupy Frankfurt

Occupy Frankfurt

Occupy Frankfurt

I was taking pictures with my old Canon AE-1 and one of the guys in the camp saw me and came up and we started talking about his old Canon that he still uses. I love taking pictures with my old camera. I love the feeling of having to set up your shot. Taking the time to get it right. I like having my old canon when I walk around too, I feel much less like a tourist when I'm shooting with that then with my new camera. Most of the pictures I took while in Frankfurt that day were with my old Canon.

After the Occupy camp I just kept wandering around and taking pictures of a few interesting things.

I saw this one building that wasn't



I then came across some ping pong tables in a park. Which to most would be pretty normal or just nothing big, but I'd love it if there were tables like this in Seattle parks. It's hard to find a table in Seattle. I actually saw these kinds of tables in parks in most cities around Europe.

Frankfurt Ping Pong Tables

I then started looking at all the ugly buildings in Frankfurt.



They are very oddly placed with all the older buildings


I eventually got tired of walking around and decided to head back to the central station, because I really could not find much else to do.


I decided to find a place to sit for a bit and rest and maybe reflect on the city. Finding a place to sit in the central station is actually not easy to do, there are only a few benches in the whole station. I found a quiet place to sit far off to one side of the station and wrote in my journal for a bit.

Frankfurt is the most beautiful / ugly city I've seen. So many modern buildings mixed in with the old. You have these plopped down space ships sitting right next to and hovering above these beautiful old apartment buildings. The red light district here is amazingly strange. It's like what would happen if you let a bunch of horny 15 year olds design a street. There are guys and girls sitting outside like doormen. The guys don't really bother you but the girls will run up to you, hug your arm, and ask if you want a blow job.
I sat at the station for a bit and took some pictures in and around the building, which was pretty impressive. It is a huge train station with a glass roof.


Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof

I got pretty board with the train station so I decided to wander in another direction. I eventually made my way to the river where I sat for awhile and wrote more in my journal. 

I'm sitting down by the river right now. It almost looks like the ship canal. There is a bridge to my right and if I close my eyes I can almost imagine that I am home. Except all the birds have a German accent.

I think by now it was close to 9pm and was starting to get a little dark. I didn't really know what to do with my self. I'd explored a good chunk of Frankfurt but I really could not find something to do. I spent most of my days with periods of wandering then sitting and resting. I was still pretty tired from the lack of sleep and the flight from the night before. It felt good though to walk so much seeing how in a few hours I would be getting on a bus where I would sit for the next 6 hours or so. I eventually just went back to the central station and waited. I then wrote.

I live at this train station now. It has become my home in Frankfurt. Throughout the day I've gone and ventured out into the city and every time I come back to the station. I've started sitting on the benches where the trains arrive and depart, mostly because they are the only benches in the whole station. Which I think is kind of strange. There are also no restrooms. You have to go to a "WC" and pay a fee to use one. Even at McDonalds. No wonder the streets smell like piss around here. I've managed to waste my day away. I don't think Frankfurt is a place I'd want to be my destination, but it's good for a few hours. 

Around 11pm I went and waited where the bus would pick me up, or where I though the bus would pick me up. There was no real clear direction as to where it would actually stop. I was just sitting outside the station looking towards the city. It had rained a little bit earlier in the day and it seemed like it would start again but mostly there were just big clouds moving over the city. A lot of the taller buildings would disappear and reappear as the clouds would pass. It made for a really cool affect as I was sitting there.



Frankfurt seems to have a pretty good night life and the big thing that people seem to do is to go to clubs. There were hoards of girls wandering around looking like they were going dancing. There was also a school bus driving around in circles loaded with a bunch of guys that were singing. These are just the things I remember. Eventually more people started to arrive at the bus stop and they too seemed not not really know exactly where they were suppose to be. A bus did eventually did arrive and it turned out that Frankfurt was just a stop along the way for this bus and actually started someplace else and would be going to London. I managed to find a seat to myself and settled in hoping to get some sleep. I think I managed to get a few hours of sleep but I think I spent a lot of time looking out the window at the country side that was illuminated by the moon. I would be arriving in Brussels on June 8th going on 3 nights of no solid amount of sleep.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I'm Back

Well it's been another long stretch where I haven't blogged. It's been a busy past few months which is why I haven't blogged at all. I've been working really hard and also been on vacation for a few weeks. Exactly one month ago I headed off to Europe to meet up with Carmel. What I am going to try and do the next few weeks is to share with you my trip with stories and pictures going day by day starting with my first day of travel which was June 6th.

On June 6th I spent all of the day in transit to Europe, Frankfurt Germany to be exact. Unfortunately I spent the nigt before I left sick with food poisoning so I arrived at the airport in Seattle early in the morning tired and sick. The first leg on my journey would take me up to Vancouver. It was a very short flight and I got some good pictures of the sound along the way. 










I arrived in Vancouver with about 5 hours to kill before my flight to Frankfurt. I had planned to maybe go into town for a hour or two to maybe grab some lunch or just wander but I was still tired and sick from the night before. I decided to just stay at the air port. I wrote in my journal about what I thought of the airport at the time. 
The Vancouver airport is so theatrical. It's almost as if the fact that people are leaving on airplanes is just something done on the side. The real show is all the shops and the atmosphere around them. They try to squeeze every cent out of you before you leave. There is this one part when you walk to your gate that you are forced to walk through a duty free shop. Then the food court is set up like an outdoor scene with running water and fake rocks and logs strewn about. If you look up at the ceiling you can actually see theatrical lights. It's almost as if you expect a play to break out any second or someone to start singing a musical. It was definitely designed by someone with a theatrical background. I don't like it. They are trying to make it something it's not. It's so cold and off-putting. It's like someones bad dream of what nature is suppose to look like.
I was able to find a quiet spot near my gate to catch at least an hour or so of sleep so I felt a little better when I at last boarded my flight to Frankfurt.


After a long layover I finally boarded my flight to Frankfurt. I was hoping to get some good sleep, as I had not slept more then a few hours the past multiple nights. Unfortunately, this flight was full of kids. A few that were made sure that everyone knew that this was the worst experience of their life. I think I managed a few hours here and there but over all I did not get any rest on this flight.


 June 6th was a day completely dedicated to travel and waiting. I did nothing else that day, I was in transit the whole day. I would arrive in Frankfurt on June 7th around 1pm very tired and groggy.

Sunday, May 27, 2012



Here are my ring a day rings for April

Total rings made in April 152. Including my 100 Rings. I sold 55 rings in April, 12 of which I sold to a small shop in Chicago called Binth.

Here you can see the view count for my shop in April, and then on the 22nd when one of my rings was on the front page for an hour you can see just how may views I got.

Here is another screen shot of my etys stats, you can see the number or orders I've gotten for each month so far this year, I hope it continues to slope up.